The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Nissan Qashqai is Britain's top-selling SUV thanks to its reliability and comfort. Two extra seats in the Qashqai+2 make this model even more appealing.
Reasons to buy:
- Smart styling
- Rides and handles well
- Seven seats
How good does it look?
The basic shape of the Nissan Qashqai+2 has not changed since it was introduced in 2008, but a 2010 facelift has given it what Nissan calls ‘an air of premium sophistication, presence and quality’. Whether or not you agree with that description, this is a smart-looking vehicle combining the practicality of an SUV with almost coupé-like styling. However the small rear side windows can make reversing difficult.
What's the interior like?
The cabin is pleasant enough, with higher-spec models featuring bright, attractive materials. There’s plenty of room for four adults in the first two rows of seats, and like all MPVs, the Qashqai+2 is tall enough to allow you to see further than you would in a conventional saloon or hatchback.
How practical is it?
The Qashqai+2 is longer than the standard five-seater, which is why there’s room for that extra row of two seats. But there’s not enough room for long legs, so those seats are strictly for children only, or adults not much over five feet tall. The rear seats fold flat at the pull of a strap, leaving 450 litres of luggage space, and if you fold the centre-row seats too, the capacity increases to 915 litres up to the window line. The five-seat Qashqai’s figures are 410 litres and 860 litres, so the extra space is as good a reason for buying the +2 as the extra seats.
What's it like to drive?
Early examples of the Qashqai were not noted for their smooth ride or crisp handling. However the 2010 upgrade included a very successful alteration to the suspension set-up that not only gave the car better ride quality, but also made it feel much safer in corners. From being well below average, this is now one of the nicest MPVs to drive.
How powerful is it?
There’s a pair of 2.0-litre engines to choose from, one petrol and one diesel, and on paper there’s very little to choose between them. When chosen with manual transmission and front-wheel drive, the top speed is 120mph for both, and although the diesel is quicker from 0-62mph at 10.1 seconds, the petrol is just 0.4 seconds slower. There’s also a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a lovely 1.5-litre diesel – both manage a top speed of around 110mph and 0-62mph in about 13 seconds.
How much will it cost me?
The 1.5-litre diesel is the cheapest to run with 54.3mpg average fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 139g/km. The 2.0 petrol is at the other end of the scale, and is expensive to tax thanks to high 189g/km CO2 emissions. Choosing the optional CVT automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive make it even less economical and raises CO2 to 194g/km.
How reliable is it?
Apart from a recall for a steering issue and shock absorber problems, which were fixed under warranty, there isn’t much reason to doubt the reliability of the Qashqai+2. The design is robust, the running gear is well proven, and assembly takes place at Nissan’s Sunderland factory, which has an excellent record.
How safe is it?
The five-seat Qashqai performed magnificently in the EuroNCAP crash tests back in 2007, achieving the highest score then recorded for adult occupant protection. It was also rated very highly for child occupant protection, though it was given only two stars for its possible effect on pedestrians. All cars get electronic stability programme, emergency brake assist, traction control and electronic brake force distribution, plus Isofix mountings and multiple airbags.
How much equipment do I get?
Three trim levels are offered: Visia, Acenta and Tekna. The Visia has 16-inch wheels, air-con and power steering, while the Acenta gets 17-inch wheels, climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors and headlights and wipers which switch themselves on automatically when required. At the top of the range, the Tekna comes with a sophisticated audio/navigation/phone system, plus leather upholstery, xenon headlights and a BOSE sound system.
Because so many other British MPV buyers can’t be wrong. The Qashqai is deservedly popular, and the larger +2 offers useful extra space.